Is a physical affair worse than an emotional one? Which kind of infidelity would most hurt you or your partner?
Emotional infidelity can be just as hurtful as physical infidelity. For most people, it can be even more so, as figures from a new study suggests.
When asked if they'd be more hurt by their partner having a physical affair where they didn't fall in love with the other person or an emotional affair where they didn't get physical but fell in love, 65% of heterosexual women responded that they'd be more upset by the former.
In comparison, 54% of heterosexual men said that they would be more hurt by the opposite – their partner having sex with someone else.
Whichever you believe to be the source of the most pain, it's crucial to acknowledge that both types of unfaithfulness can damage you, your relationship with your spouse and the one you have with God.
Some people are under the impression that what the other person doesn't know won't hurt them but whether or not you intend them to, unfaithful thoughts and fantasies have a way of impacting your external behaviour - moodiness, less affection, diverted attentions, and if it gets to the point where you're acting on your unfaithful thoughts, then there may be diverted finances too.
There's more than meets they eye when it comes to adultery. We don't always see what someone does to betray our trust but that doesn't take away from the fact that they have done. Plus, no matter how well we can hide our sin from one another, we can't hide it from God.
The Bible is pretty clear in its warnings against the dangers of unfaithfulness, both in the external physical sense and the internal emotional sense.
Three Bible verses on the impact of emotional and "hidden" sin
Our purity depends on the righteousness of our thoughts as well as the righteousness of our acts. Try as we might, we cannot separate them from one another.
Matthew 5:28 - But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Isaiah 47:10 - You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, "No one sees me"; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me."
Isaiah 29:15 - Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?"
Four Bible verses on the impact of physical infidelity and sexual sin
Many people are unaware that extramarital affairs aren't just a form of sin against someone else, they're also a sin against the adulterers own self.
1 Corinthians 6:18 - Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
Proverbs 6:32 - He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 - For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honour.
Galatians 5:19 - Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality.